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Shouldve Taken The Black

The Frey-Blackfyre Connection

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Hello all!

Some idle speculation on my part got me thinking about a possible link between Walder Frey and the Blackfyres, beyond his father’s double dealing during the Second Blackfyre rebellion.

We see young Walder Frey as a child in The Mystery Knight, where his father was clearly flirting with the Blackfyres when entering a marriage alliance with Butterwell. It becomes apparent at the end that Frey was at the very least playing both sides, if not planning on betraying them from the beginning.

What got me thinking was an exchange on another thread, where @Kandrax wondered why Walder named one of his sons Aenys, when Aenys was widely regarded as a weak king. It could simply be that Walder was simply giving his son a random Targaryen name to curry favour with the Iron Throne. However, Aenys was born about seven years after Aenys Blackfyre was murdered by Bloodraven, almost exactly around the time of the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion.

These could all be coincidences, and I’m more than happy for this “theory” such as it is, to be shot full of holes, but it seems to me that the naming of his son as Aenys, whose name would have been something of a token for the Blackfyre supporters giving the circumstances of his death (he was executed by Bloodraven after being promised safe conduct for the Great Council that installed Aegon V), around the same time that the Golden Company invaded, is an interesting detail.

After the Second Rebellion, the Fourth Rebellion was the least impressive of the Blackfyre attempts, so it does seem strange that a man like Walder would so publically pin his colours to the mast. However, he may have learned his famous caution after the Fourth Rebellion. Aenys subsequently named his own sons Aegon and Rhaegar, which could either mean that they were simply naming Freys after Targaryens or it was a purposeful gesture of loyalty to make up for Aenys’s naming and the Frey support for Blackfyre.

This is nowhere close to being a fully fleshed out theory of course.

Thoughts welcome.

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I hope you get some answers on this. I am looking for connections to Bloodraven, Bittersteel, Blackwoods and Brackens lately.

In my painfully slow re-read of The Hedge Knight, I have reached a tentative conclusion that the host of the tourney, Lord Ashford, is a symbolic representative of the Targaryen dynasty. The jousting and subsequent Trial by Seven is a battle for the Iron Throne, with "Bloodraven" as the supervisor of the participants. Because I've seen at least a couple symbolic Bloodravens in the story, I assume there are also symbolic Bittersteels in this story and upcoming Dunk & Egg stories.

An ongoing attempt to analyze the mistresses of Aegon IV and the Great Bastards born of those mistresses leads me to wonder whether a similar analysis of Walder Frey's wives would reveal some clues about his loyalties and true agenda. I suspect that each of Aegon IV's mistresses and each of Walder Frey's wives represents a deliberate decision to produce a batch of children with given characteristics. Or perhaps each is a way to ally with the potential future king or warden, ensuring that Freys will come out on the winning side no matter what. We see a similar widespread production of children with varying characteristics in Oberyn Martell.

Walder Frey married a Blackwood but never a Bracken, so that potential Blackfyre connection doesn't exist but a possible Bloodraven connection does exist through the Blackwood alliance.

There are a couple of Darrys married into the Frey family tree and I suspect that there is "dairy" wordplay around Lord Butterwell and egg symbolism in the name of Whitewalls. It seems as if House Darry is super loyal to the Targaryens, so it's hard to believe that there could be a hidden Blackfyre message in the Frey-Darry connection. Yet that is the group of descendants that includes Aenys Frey, singled out in your op.

Walder's descendants through his Rosby wife are the ones who ally with the Starks and Tullys - Olyvar, Roslin, etc.

He does have three sons with his first wife, Perra Royce: Stevron, Emmon and Aenys. If Walder has a master plan to father a set of allies for each of the most powerful houses in Westeros, it makes sense that his first set of descendants would match up with the Targaryens. But maybe the three sons in that marriage represent three branches of a Targ alliance. Maybe Stevron and Aenys represent a Targ loyalist and a Blackfyre loyalist, just in case. Emmon is the one who marries Genna Lannister so that is pretty clearly a Lannister alliance. That becomes relevant to the Targ alliance only after Tywin becomes Hand of the King, however, and I'm not sure how Walder could have anticipated that development.

On the other hand, I don't know how Bloodraven can "be" a puppeteer and a tournament master. I guess literary symbolism doesn't have to make sense in the literal world. 

Long before I discerned Bloodraven's hidden role in the tourney at Ashford Meadow, I did surmise that we will one day see a Frey "melee" or "fray". Maybe we are already seeing it play out in slow motion as heirs are killed or displaced and others move up in the Lord of the Crossing line of succession. If the Frey machinations and internal feuds and ambitions are symbolic of the current power struggle in Westeros, the winner within the family might be a clue to tell us which Frey allies will end up with the Iron Throne. Big Walder says he will end up as Lord of the Crossing. And he is a Blackwood descendant. Many people in this forum suspect that he killed his cousin, Little Walder, who was a Darry descendant and a brother-in-law of Roose Bolton. A Blackwood - Darry conflict might be another hint that House Darry is a symbolic Blackfyre link.

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

I hope you get some answers on this. I am looking for connections to Bloodraven, Bittersteel, Blackwoods and Brackens lately.

In my painfully slow re-read of The Hedge Knight, I have reached a tentative conclusion that the host of the tourney, Lord Ashford, is a symbolic representative of the Targaryen dynasty. The jousting and subsequent Trial by Seven is a battle for the Iron Throne, with "Bloodraven" as the supervisor of the participants. Because I've seen at least a couple symbolic Bloodravens in the story, I assume there are also symbolic Bittersteels in this story and upcoming Dunk & Egg stories.

An ongoing attempt to analyze the mistresses of Aegon IV and the Great Bastards born of those mistresses leads me to wonder whether a similar analysis of Walder Frey's wives would reveal some clues about his loyalties and true agenda. I suspect that each of Aegon IV's mistresses and each of Walder Frey's wives represents a deliberate decision to produce a batch of children with given characteristics. Or perhaps each is a way to ally with the potential future king or warden, ensuring that Freys will come out on the winning side no matter what. We see a similar widespread production of children with varying characteristics in Oberyn Martell.

Walder Frey married a Blackwood but never a Bracken, so that potential Blackfyre connection doesn't exist but a possible Bloodraven connection does exist through the Blackwood alliance.

There are a couple of Darrys married into the Frey family tree and I suspect that there is "dairy" wordplay around Lord Butterwell and egg symbolism in the name of Whitewalls. It seems as if House Darry is super loyal to the Targaryens, so it's hard to believe that there could be a hidden Blackfyre message in the Frey-Darry connection. Yet that is the group of descendants that includes Aenys Frey, singled out in your op.

Walder's descendants through his Rosby wife are the ones who ally with the Starks and Tullys - Olyvar, Roslin, etc.

He does have three sons with his first wife, Perra Royce: Stevron, Emmon and Aenys. If Walder has a master plan to father a set of allies for each of the most powerful houses in Westeros, it makes sense that his first set of descendants would match up with the Targaryens. But maybe the three sons in that marriage represent three branches of a Targ alliance. Maybe Stevron and Aenys represent a Targ loyalist and a Blackfyre loyalist, just in case. Emmon is the one who marries Genna Lannister so that is pretty clearly a Lannister alliance. That becomes relevant to the Targ alliance only after Tywin becomes Hand of the King, however, and I'm not sure how Walder could have anticipated that development.

On the other hand, I don't know how Bloodraven can "be" a puppeteer and a tournament master. I guess literary symbolism doesn't have to make sense in the literal world. 

Long before I discerned Bloodraven's hidden role in the tourney at Ashford Meadow, I did surmise that we will one day see a Frey "melee" or "fray". Maybe we are already seeing it play out in slow motion as heirs are killed or displaced and others move up in the Lord of the Crossing line of succession. If the Frey machinations and internal feuds and ambitions are symbolic of the current power struggle in Westeros, the winner within the family might be a clue to tell us which Frey allies will end up with the Iron Throne. Big Walder says he will end up as Lord of the Crossing. And he is a Blackwood descendant. Many people in this forum suspect that he killed his cousin, Little Walder, who was a Darry descendant and a brother-in-law of Roose Bolton. A Blackwood - Darry conflict might be another hint that House Darry is a symbolic Blackfyre link.

Hi Seams. Thanks for this. I'll respond tomorrow when I'm at a computer. 

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It occurs to me that Black Walder might be a good parallel for Daemon Blackfyre and Walder Rivers  could be a match for Bittersteel.

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5 minutes ago, Seams said:

It occurs to me that Black Walder might be a good parallel for Daemon Blackfyre and Walder Rivers  could be a match for Bittersteel.

How so?

Black Walder seems to enjoy rubbing people up the wrong way, a gifted warrior who has refused to become a knight and is the antithesis of chivalry while he is happy to sleep with anyone. In  contrast Daemon was beloved, it is his popularity that got him his support, he was a renowned knight who had the support of most of the chivalry of westeros while many have romanticized him by claiming that love was one of the reasons he went to war.  I don't think they could be more different. 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Seams said:

It seems as if House Darry is super loyal to the Targaryens, so it's hard to believe that there could be a hidden Blackfyre message in the Frey-Darry connection. Yet that is the group of descendants that includes Aenys Frey, singled out in your op.

Aenys is descended from Perra Royce, and married a Wylde. 

To be clear, I don't think the Freys are still in some way loyal to the Blackfyres, I'm just pointing out the possibility of a connection continuing until the Fourth Rebellion.

As to the rest of your comment, it's a really interesting theory. The significance of all the houses that married into the Frey house may also be relevant if the Frey-fray leave no clear heir.

Edited by Shouldve Taken The Black

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Doesn't sound very likely to me. If Walder had any Blackfyre loyalties the Freys would have been dealt a major blow in 236 AC considering that Aegon V won such a decisive victory.

In addition, one assumes nobody would want to name his son after a pretender who died as pitiful a death as Aenys Blackfyre. One would rather assume that such a person would name his son Daemon.

Walder's father may have sided with Haegon Blackfyre in 219 AC. It wouldn't surprise me if the man did not survive that war, resulting in Walder becoming Lord of the Crossing at a rather early age.

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8 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If Walder had any Blackfyre loyalties the Freys would have been dealt a major blow in 236 AC considering that Aegon V won such a decisive victory.

True. Though knowing Frey he could have benefitted significantly, if he changed sides at the right time.

9 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

In addition, one assumes nobody would want to name his son after a pretender who died as pitiful a death as Aenys Blackfyre

In the World book (going off memory), I think it says something like Aenys' death "hardened the hearts" of the Blackfyre pretenders, ensuring they would continue to concentrate on violent means. The Fourth Rebellion happened a few years after that, after a long, hard winter. It's conceivable that "vengeance for Aenys" may have been a rallying cry for them.

11 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Walder's father may have sided with Haegon Blackfyre in 219 AC. It wouldn't surprise me if the man did not survive that war, resulting in Walder becoming Lord of the Crossing at a rather early age.

Very possible. Certainly, we know that Walder's father at least flirted with the Blackfyres. It's not unsurprising given Walder's favorite tactic of playing both sides. It may very well be that his habit of naming children and grandchildren after various Targaryens/Blackfyres is nothing more than an example of him sucking up to all sides.

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9 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

How so?

Black Walder seems to enjoy rubbing people up the wrong way, a gifted warrior who has refused to become a knight and is the antithesis of chivalry while he is happy to sleep with anyone. In  contrast Daemon was beloved, it is his popularity that got him his support, he was a renowned knight who had the support of most of the chivalry of westeros while many have romanticized him by claiming that love was one of the reasons he went to war.  I don't think they could be more different. 

In temperament, Black Walder / Daemon is not a match. Black Walder's personality is more like that of Bittersteel, who was always angry and ill-tempered. Walder Rivers may be more like Daemon in temperament.

When I drew the comparison, I was thinking more in terms of the bastard challenge to the legit heir: Bittersteel wanted the throne for Daemon, not himself. Black Walder is legit but not the next in line, and he wants the throne for himself. So the pair of Freys have qualities of the pair of Blackfyres, even though GRRM has changed or swapped a few characteristics.

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23 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

After the Second Rebellion, the Fourth Rebellion was the least impressive of the Blackfyre attempts, so it does seem strange that a man like Walder would so publically pin his colours to the mast. However, he may have learned his famous caution after the Fourth Rebellion. Aenys subsequently named his own sons Aegon and Rhaegar, which could either mean that they were simply naming Freys after Targaryens or it was a purposeful gesture of loyalty to make up for Aenys’s naming and the Frey support for Blackfyre.

This is nowhere close to being a fully fleshed out theory of course.

Thoughts welcome.

Good topic.

I think the bit in bold is key. Was it really him pinning his colours to the mast? Or was it just him taking the opportunity to have a wee dig at the Targaryens for some slight, real or imagined. Much like Bronn naming Lollys' son Tyrion.

It seems like standard Walder, to be honest. If the Blackfyres happen to win, he could point to Aenys' name as proof of his loyalty and lack of respect for the Targaryens. If the Targaryens confront him he could just go "It's just a name. Wasn't even my decision. The wife liked it".

This does make me wonder who named "Jinglebell" Aegon, and whether it was clear that he was disabled when he was born. It could be seen as either an insult, or a tribute, to Egg.

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On 4/18/2018 at 2:46 PM, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

 

What got me thinking was an exchange on another thread, where @Kandrax wondered why Walder named one of his sons Aenys, when Aenys was widely regarded as a weak king.

I kind of doubt that only two Aenys had lived before Walder named his third son that, there would have been others some more inspirational than others. But it could also be in tribute to the Blackfyre prince given how hated Bloodraven was and how controversial Aegon's reign was I imagine that Aenys may well have been romanticized by some as a figure who could have brought peace to the kingdom. 

 

37 minutes ago, UnFit Finlay said:

 

This does make me wonder who named "Jinglebell" Aegon, and whether it was clear that he was disabled when he was born. It could be seen as either an insult, or a tribute, to Egg.

There is actually another Aegon, the son of Aenys, born around the same time as Jinglebell, so I don't necessarily think it was meant as an insult. 

 

Another interesting part of the Aeny's branch is that his granddaughter is known as 'white' Walda. I'm guessing that this is because of the colour of her hair rather than being based on her temperament, it is possible that either her Beesbury mother or Wylde grandmother have some targaryen/velaryon blood. 

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52 minutes ago, UnFit Finlay said:

It seems like standard Walder, to be honest. If the Blackfyres happen to win, he could point to Aenys' name as proof of his loyalty and lack of respect for the Targaryens. If the Targaryens confront him he could just go "It's just a name. Wasn't even my decision. The wife liked it".

I'm sort of hovering around this. He could claim it was named after either King Aenys, or Aenys Blackfyre, depending on who won.

53 minutes ago, UnFit Finlay said:

This does make me wonder who named "Jinglebell" Aegon, and whether it was clear that he was disabled when he was born. It could be seen as either an insult, or a tribute, to Egg.

It could suggest a falling out between Egg and Walder at some point, which may also have pushed him closer to the Blackfyres by the Fourth Rebellion.

 

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10 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

True. Though knowing Frey he could have benefitted significantly, if he changed sides at the right time.

Well, considering that there was only one battle that would have to be a rather weird stunt. Not to mention that one doesn't see how a Frey host should be able to manifest itself on the Blackfyre side of the Wendwater Bridge when the Targaryen host was in the way. We can see how some Yronwoods may have gotten there, and perhaps some Stormlords joined the Blackfyres, too, but Riverlords, Reach lords, Vale lords, etc. are very unlikely to join the Golden Company in that particular battle.

I like the idea better that Walder ended up sucking up to the Aegon V after the Celia Tully crisis, or perhaps even back when Maekar took Harrenhal from the Lothstons, hoping he would get that big price...

10 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

In the World book (going off memory), I think it says something like Aenys' death "hardened the hearts" of the Blackfyre pretenders, ensuring they would continue to concentrate on violent means. The Fourth Rebellion happened a few years after that, after a long, hard winter. It's conceivable that "vengeance for Aenys" may have been a rallying cry for them.

Sure, that is not unlikely. But Aenys would have still been a pretext, not anyone Daemon III actually liked. His treatment symbolized that the Targaryens were vile traitors, etc. but Aenys Blackfyre himself was no friend/supported of his nephew Daemon III or his uncle Bittersteel - he wanted to take the Iron Throne himself, remember, when Bittersteel had already crowned a Blackfyre king in Daemon III Blackfyre.

Neither of them would have been welcome in KL if King Aenys II had taken the Iron Throne in 233 AC.

In that sense - yes, the Golden Company and Daemon III likely used the Aenys thing as a pretext for their invasion, and hoped this would help to gain sympathy and support in Westeros (it clearly did not). But the idea that anyone - especially a man like Walder Frey - would want to name a son after a man who died in this way (with the man sentencing him to death being a Riverlander himself) - simply doesn't sound very likely to me.

You would have a case, I think, if Aenys Frey had been born in 232/233 AC, but not after Aenys Blackfyre was dead.

And if Walder had ever wanted to suck up to a Blackfyre then the name 'Daemon' (for Daemon I & II) or 'Haegon' (for Daemon III's father) would have been a much better choice.

In that sense one could wonder whether the Allyrions of Godsgrace ever fought for the Black Dragon. Daemon Sand likely has his name for a reason.

10 hours ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

Very possible. Certainly, we know that Walder's father at least flirted with the Blackfyres. It's not unsurprising given Walder's favorite tactic of playing both sides. It may very well be that his habit of naming children and grandchildren after various Targaryens/Blackfyres is nothing more than an example of him sucking up to all sides.

Actually, I think it may turn out that that Walder's father is going to turn out to be a less cautious man than his son - explaining how Walder became what he is. Historically the Freys (Forrest Frey, for example) seem to have been courageous and brave men, not the people we saw in the series (and even that impression is wrong - there are courageous and noble Freys, but they are not in charge/not as numerous as the others).

But then, Lord Frey's quick decision to abandon Butterwell, his own daughter, and Daemon II pretty much is what one expect Walder to do, so it might be the Freys choose the right side - or completely stay out of - the Third Blackfyre Rebellion (and all that come thereafter).

Still, Dunk & Egg will meet Walder Frey again, that much is clear. And they may even hang out some time. One hopes they are not stuck with him as a ward for a time. 

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7 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

There is actually another Aegon, the son of Aenys, born around the same time as Jinglebell,

Aegon son of Aenys was born in 26 AC

Jinglebell was born 249 AC

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8 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

There is actually another Aegon, the son of Aenys, born around the same time as Jinglebell, so I don't necessarily think it was meant as an insult.

 

56 minutes ago, Kandrax said:

Aegon son of Aenys was born in 26 AC

Jinglebell was born 249 AC

I think he meant this Aegon, son of Aenys Frey, and born between 253 and 272 AC:

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Aegon_Frey_(son_of_Aenys)

 

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9 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

There is actually another Aegon, the son of Aenys, born around the same time as Jinglebell, so I don't necessarily think it was meant as an insult. 

It is much more likely that George used this whole thing as a joke to show that even a lackwit can bear the name of a king - the Freys wanted to suck up to the Targaryens, but ended up naming the wrong guy Aegon.

Aegon Bloodborn is another such failure, and of course then there is Rhaegar the Pie and Rhaegar's son Robert - a guy we never met, but which is blatantly moronic that you remain speechless.

Aenys Frey really seemed to have developed some Targaryen fetish - perhaps because he got that royal name? Considering that it was such a rare name it should have stood out rather prominently.

Thinking about Stevron's son Jinglebell here - considering that Stevron Frey is described as a fine guy in the books I'd not be surprised if he played a positive role in Dunk & Egg's life later on during Egg's reign, causing him to honor King Aegon V by naming his second son after him.

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10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Well, considering that there was only one battle that would have to be a rather weird stunt.

I don't think the Late Lord Frey would have been at the battle. He may just have been a part of the original plot, only to bail, much like his father did in the Second Rebellion.

10 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And if Walder had ever wanted to suck up to a Blackfyre then the name 'Daemon' (for Daemon I & II) or 'Haegon' (for Daemon III's father) would have been a much better choice.

But much harder to pass off if things went south. With Aenys there's the deniability factor of being able to claim he was named after a Targaryen king.

 

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19 minutes ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

I don't think the Late Lord Frey would have been at the battle. He may just have been a part of the original plot, only to bail, much like his father did in the Second Rebellion.

I honestly don't think the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion included 'a plot' involving any lords in the Seven Kingdoms. It looks like the Golden Company just came, hoped people would flock to their banners, and then suffered a crushing defeat. I mean, even the whole idea to land on Massey's Hook looks like nonsense. There is only a small land bridge to the main land and the Westerosi joining them would either have to be very close or be able to join them by ship.

By comparison, Daemon II Blackfyre was a genius. He at least had allies in Westeros and was able to infiltrate the Seven Kingdoms and attempted to actually launch a rebellion in the Targaryen realm. The Fourth Blackfyre 'Rebellion' was essentially just a failed invasion by a foreign power.

19 minutes ago, Shouldve Taken The Black said:

But much harder to pass off if things went south. With Aenys there's the deniability factor of being able to claim he was named after a Targaryen king.

With Haegon you have a point, but we all know that the entire Targaryen dynasty is descended from Rhaenyra's consort, Prince Daemon Targaryen, right? A Daemon Frey could just as well be named after this guy, no?

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30 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I honestly don't think the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion included 'a plot' involving any lords in the Seven Kingdoms. It looks like the Golden Company just came, hoped people would flock to their banners, and then suffered a crushing defeat. I mean, even the whole idea to land on Massey's Hook looks like nonsense. There is only a small land bridge to the main land and the Westerosi joining them would either have to be very close or be able to join them by ship.

By comparison, Daemon II Blackfyre was a genius. He at least had allies in Westeros and was able to infiltrate the Seven Kingdoms and attempted to actually launch a rebellion in the Targaryen realm. The Fourth Blackfyre 'Rebellion' was essentially just a failed invasion by a foreign power.

That's how it appears, however, it may only seem that way because they thought they had support in the 7K that never materialized...

31 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

With Haegon you have a point, but we all know that the entire Targaryen dynasty is descended from Rhaenyra's consort, Prince Daemon Targaryen, right? A Daemon Frey could just as well be named after this guy, no?

But at that time the most famous Daemon was the first Blackfyre. Saying "actually, I named him after Prince Daemon, you know, the consort of Rhaenyra" would be somewhat less believable. 

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